Developing marketing strategies for financial services means considering a range of elements which include:
- Your organization’s goals & objectives
- Target markets
- New & emerging markets
- Your organization’s strengths & weaknesses
- Resources available
However, no matter what your goals or the financial services you provide, effective marketing strategies can help you to focus efforts so that you can better reach targets and goals.
These 5 financial services marketing strategies are a good place to start for many:
1. Customer Outreach
Customer outreach is one of the oldest and simplest marketing strategies for financial services organizations to adopt. However, it’s also one of the most effective. Customer outreach is quite simply the concept of reaching out to customers to fill existing needs surrounding education, awareness, and help. This scales to a small organization in the form of free consultations and webinars and to larger ones in the form of financial education such as debt management programs or financial education in schools.
Why does it work? Customer outreach may seem like a largely philanthropic use of budget, but it works to build awareness, customer loyalty, and interest in products and services. A carefully formulated financial marketing strategy takes the services and features you are trying to sell and other marketing campaigns into consideration. For example, if you know that students are going back to school, you could focus customer outreach around programs for teaching college students to manage money on their own, towards saving for college, or budgeting to save up for a car. If you know your geographic area has a large percentage of seniors, you could create free programs teaching seniors to use digital banking and about online security. These programs would, in turn, promote savings accounts, digital solutions, and even your bank through awareness and increased consumer trust.
2. Self-Service and Digitization
Where baby boomers and previous generations largely preferred to receive products through sales representatives who could advise them and set up personalized (or not) accounts for them, millennials and Generation Z often want to do everything themselves with as little contact with human representatives as possible. Setting up and promoting digitized products and customer service or experience portals which enable customers to sign up for services online, change products and services online, and view their information without going into a branch is an effective and increasingly necessary trend for financial organizations. However, it is not a marketing strategy that applies to every organization, as you may not sell products only services.
3. Social Media
81% of the United States population is on a social media account and many use social for up to 4-5 hours per day. Your smart and consistent use of one or more social media platforms is a valuable financial marketing strategy which you cannot afford to ignore. Millennials, Generation Z, and even Baby Boomers use social media platforms to connect with brands, learn from peers, and follow current events and news. Maintaining a steady presence on one or more sites with a strategy in place to offer value to followers will help you to build brand trust, create marketing opportunities, and grow your customer base.
Many financial and banking organizations use social media to connect with consumers for the purpose of building trust. For example, by showing that real people work at banks and in financial services, showcasing customers and success stories, and delivering customer service. For example, financial organizations can typically cut the cost of customer service by over 70% by switching from phone to social media. A good social media marketing strategy requires smart use of storytelling, content, and creative humor as well as consistency and the willingness to offer value for the customer rather than the bank. However, it is well worth the effort in terms of building trust, awareness, and relationships with consumers in their space.
4. Automation and Big Data
Most financial organizations have more data than they know what to do with, but that is quickly changing. Today, customer experience platforms and automation tools make it easier than ever to utilize and apply data as part of your marketing efforts. For example, big data can tell you who is saving up for a big purchase and most likely to need pre-approval for a loan, big data can help you identify and offer services before or after they are needed, it can help you to target specific customers for additional customer service or education, and can help you to cut down on needed customer service.
For example, JP Morgan uses bots to respond to internal IT access requests, cutting the need for 40 full-time employees, and speeding up the process. Other banks are using automation to tailor services, offer more specific or personalized solutions, and to create custom data and dashboards for customers in ways that would have been prohibitively expensive without automation.
5. Digital Storytelling
Storytelling is still one of the most effective marketing mediums, whether on social media, video, ads, or cross-channel platforms extending into the real world. Here, your marketing strategy should encompass telling a story that captures interest and evokes emotion to interest, excite, and move the viewer. Here, your goal is to create relatable and shareable content which can educate, entertain, or help the reader in some way – and hopefully manage all three at once. For example, Allstate’saward-winning “Worth Telling” digital storytelling marketing campaign focuses on telling the story of 3-8 customers who are making a difference. Allstate not only promotes what their customers are doing, building trust by sharing real people and stories, but also dries interest across all marketing channels, builds customer relationships, and creates a human factor while promoting the products and services discussed in the videos.
No matter what your financial organization does, digital media opens up a wide range of marketing tactics and strategies you can take. However, you shouldn’t focus on just one or try to incorporate everything. Instead, create a single, broader financial marketing strategy so that each element adds to and builds on the rest, adding value to your organization.